Friday, November 12, 2010

Hi from Monterey! Friday November 12, 2010

Hello everybody!

Sorry I haven't written in a while.  I am in Monterey for my third day.  As I was walking out of Santa Cruz my phone rang and it was someone from the Central Coast News.  She said there was a TV reporter in town at the time and he came out, met me along the way, and interviewed me!  He was a nice guy and was genuinely interested in the story.  He said that it would probably air that evening. 

As I walked along my phone rang again.... this time it was Will Blackwell.  Will is the young man that is raising money to go down to Honduras to help Bob and Joyce with the children.  He had read my last blog and thought that I sounded a bit discouraged, so he called to encourage me and to cheer me up.  He did!!  That is the first time I talked to him and I can tell that he is a fine man.  The Coders and the children are lucky to have him.  We talked as I walked and we both encouraged one another.  Thank you Will! 

I made it that evening to a State Park called Sunset State Beach.  I got there, set up camp, ate the second half of my lunch sandwich for dinner, bought some firewood, and got a nice fire going.  I was sitting there in the dark enjoying the fire when I looked off in the distance and saw a blinking red light and a headlight.  I knew what that was, so I got up and went to meet the new cyclist.  It turned out to be Bengt Richter, a 71 year old man biking to Los Angeles from his home in Bainbridge Island near Seattle Washington.  He came over and we enjoyed the fire and eachother's company.  In the morning I realized either how quiet racoons can be, or how soundly I can sleep.  They got into our stuff right outside my tent- I didn't hear a thing!

In the cool and damp morning I hit the road again.  As I walked out past the kiosk, a young woman named Summer was there working.  She said, "Hey, I saw you on TV last night!"  So they got the story on the air right away!  I continued on, walking through brussel sprouts fields.  It is harvest time for these tasty little buds and there were many workers out in the fields harvesting.  As I was walking through the fields, a van pulled up next to me and a man said, "Hey, I saw you on TV last night and figured you'd be in this stretch."  He offered me some money and an energy drink.  I politely declined both, but gave him my card with the web addresses on it.  That was nice!  My destination was Castroville- the Artichoke Capital of the World!!  I made it there and found the only lodging in this area- a cheap motel!  I looked over my shoulder all day, but never was passed by Bengt.........

The next day the destination was Monterey.  I walked through Marina and Seaside, mostly along a very nice bike and pedestrian path.  It was beautiful.  I made it to the top of a rather steep hill in the center of Monterey.  The place I was headed is called Veteran's Memorial Park.  It is a park and a campground right in the city.  I got there and there was a single tent set up in the hiker/biker area, but no one around.  I ate dinner and then went to the bathrooms to get ready for bed.  It was dark, and I headed back to the site to go to bed.  I looked, and there was a bike in the campsite.  A guy came up to me and said, "Hey, I'm Gabe.  Want to have a fire?  I know where there is some firewood."  I said sure!  So we built a nice fire and enjoyed a good conversation.  It turns out that he knows some of the other cyclists that I have met and have gotten to know.  It is like a community that it making its way down the coast.  He knew Juergen, and had traveled with him.  He had also met Bengt the night before in the Monterey hostel (so that's where Bengt went!).  Gabe is 24 and is from Washington D.C.  He was a private investigator, but said that just a few years of that was very stressful, so he quit to do the Seattle to L.A. tour, and then figure out what to do with his life after that.  We put out the fire and went to bed.  In the morning, guess what?  It was the perfect time to camp at the Veteran's Memorial Park!  Why?  It was Veteran's Day!!!  The huge grassy area in the center of the park was surrounded with a ring of American flags flying from posts!  It was great!  I took lots of pictures.  I found the highest flag flying from the flagpole at the top of the park, and stood there and said the Pledge of Allegience.  I left, enjoying the beautiful, sunny day.

It was a rather short walk, but I arrived at the hostel in Monterey.  It is just a few blocks above Cannery Row.  I got in, locked up my stroller, and asked how to get on the bus.  I was told, but by the time I got out to the street and down the block, I forgot the details!  Oh well!  I went on walking down the street anyways.  I needed to get to an outdoor/camping type of place so that I could buy another fuel canister for my stove.  As I was walking down the street, I noticed a woman holding back a large dog that was straining at its leash to get to a man facing them.  He said, "It's okay, he just wants to say hi."  He seemed like a nice man, so I waited around until they finished talking.  I approached him and asked if he knew where the buses ran and how to catch one.  I told him that I was in the market for a new fuel canister.  He said, "Are you a weirdo?"  That threw me a bit!  I didn't want to be honest, so I said, "No."  That apparently was the right answer.  He said, "Hop in, I'll drive you."  How about an amen!!!!  We hit it off right away.  His name is Richard and he is a Viet Nam vet.  We had a great conversation on the way to the store.  I found the canister and offered to buy him some coffee.  He took us to a place that I have actually been to before!!!  We enjoyed a great conversation and he returned me right to the hostel!  Thank you Richard!  You're a good man.  When I got there, I went inside and there was Bengt and another young lady named Jessica who I made friends with along the way!  Both are touring cyclists.  I've also had some great conversations with other people I've met in the hostel.  This morning I was in the large common room, talking to a woman I had just met, when a voice from across the room said to me, "That's where I know you from!  Olema Campground.  Remember me?  I was camped across the field from you!"  He remembered the make of my tent and complimented me on my choice of gear!  So you just never know!!   

Today I treated myself to something fun.  I went out on one of those whale-watching boats!!  We went way out into Monterey Bay and we saw some humpback whales!!  They surfaced and blew.  They jumped clear out of the water a few times, as well as spy-hopping and breaching!!  It was great!  I loved it, as well as simply the boat ride itself.  Thank you Lord!

Tomorrow I am off down the road again.  I'm not sure where I will stay tomorrow night- it will probably be a night of "wild-camping."  That's where you camp wherever you can.......

I continue to meet people who are very open, kind, honest, and sincere.  What I keep finding is that sometimes I have something to say that they may need, but more often, it seems, it is I who is to do the listening.  I am finding that there is a tremendous amount of wisdom and guidance and truth being proclaimed by my fellow man.  Sometimes ya just gotta listen.......................

Thank you for checking in on me,
God bless,

1 comment:

  1. Mike & I appreciate the paragraphs in this post, and hearing about your adventures